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Blog: 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Editor's Note: The Collegian is posting updates from University of Richmond women's track and field coach Lori Taylor, who is in Fayetteville, Ark., with sophomore Nicol Traynor for the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Traynor, competing in nationals for the first time, will race in the women's 5,000-meter run on Wednesday. She will also blog about the experience.

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Editor's Note: This entry is by Nicol Traynor.

June 11, 6:38 p.m. ET

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- What an experience this meet has been so far! Even though I am done racing because I didn't qualify for finals on Friday night, I'm very excited to be a spectator these next few days!

As for my race last night, the rain delay actually seemed to help because it cooled everything off. It was a little difficult running three hours later than expected because of the way I had timed my meals throughout the day, but it was like that for everyone. When the race finally went off at 11:55 p.m., I felt relaxed going through the mile at 5 minutes, 20 seconds. It was on the fifth lap, when we dropped down to 75 seconds, that I could really feel in my legs over the second half of the race. Although I am a little disappointed finishing with a 17:04 and not getting close to qualifying for finals, I've made a huge improvement from where I was last year. Just having the experience of coming to this meet as a sophomore will really help me the next two years!

I would like to thank The Collegian for putting this blog together and everyone who has shown their support for Lori and me. Coaches, athletes, friends and parents, it really means a lot to us!

Spider love,

Nicol

June 11, 2:05 a.m. CDT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Thunder and lightning delayed the meet by three hours this evening. Conditions were good. Cooled off quite a lot but still humid. Nicol's heat went off at 11:55 p.m.

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Nicol looked great the first mile at 5 minutes, 20 seconds. Was aggressive at the start and got in a good position. Asselin (WVU) took off at the start as she did at Regionals however no one went with her. Pace for the rest of the pack was relaxed but honest. Nicol moved to the front of the pack for first mile and looked good. Pace took a big drop on lap 5. Nicol's fifth -400-meter was 75. It seemed as if her body was a little shocked with the drop in pace. It just did not respond. She said her legs all of a sudden felt dead.

Nicol finished 12th in her heat in a time of 17:04.

Steve and I are extremely proud of Nicol qualifying for the NCAA Championships and how far she has come this year!

June 11, 12:28 a.m. CDT

Sophomore Nicol Traynor has finished 12th in the the first round of the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Championships, after officials delayed the meet more than three hours for severe thunderstorms.

Traynor crossed in 17 minutes, 4 seconds, in a race that began just a few minutes prior to midnight local time. She remained near the top runners early in the race, but faded about midway, falling outside the place needed for an automatic or at-large qualifier into Friday's final. Nicole Blood, a runner from the University of Oregon, won the heat.

Traynor set her season and personal best of 16:17 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., in April. At the East regional championships in Greensboro, N.C., two weeks ago, Traynor ran 16:36 for a 12th place finish.

-- The Collegian Staff

June 10, 9:49 p.m. CDT

The NCAA championships will resume at 10:15 p.m. CDT with a rolling schedule for running events. Traynor's race is expected to start at 11:50 p.m. -- The Collegian Staff

June 10, 8:26 p.m. CDT

The meet has been delayed for at least two hours because of lightning in the area. Nicol was slated to race at 8:40 p.m. The Collegian will update this as more information becomes available. -- The Collegian Staff

June 9, 11:45 p.m. CDT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Pre Race Day.

The anticipation and excitement reach a new level. The athletes are all here going through their final preparations. The habits and routines have been perfected. The atmosphere has a certain amount of calm. But it is like the calm before the storm. Everyone is ready to get started.

Nicol made out with the athlete's gifts: An iPod shuffle, a backpack and a NCAA knit hat. Pretty cool.

Teammate Andrew Benford arrived on a plane around 10 p.m. Well, let's just say not the best day to fly. Three-hour delay out of New York, then another two-and-a-half hours sitting on the runway. Then if that isn't bad enough, the direct flight from New York to Fayetteville turned away from Arkansas and back to Louisville because of storms and because there was not enough gas to go around them. It is good to see him at the airport.

A big thanks to everyone following Nicol. Your support means a lot to Nicol and really helps us feel connected with everyone back in Richmond.

A personal thanks to all the Richmond coaches and staff for their comments, WOW, pretty awesome!

Friends -- this means more than you know. What a classy bunch.

Nicol is in the first of two semifinal heats of the 5K tomorrow. Race time is 8:40 p.m. Top six in each heat plus the next four fastest times make finals Friday. The goal is to do whatever it takes to get to finals on Friday.

Nicol is ready!

June 8, 9:53 p.m. CDT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Settled in today. Rested and relaxed from the trip and familiarized ourselves with our surroundings. Your comfort level and also feeling you're right where you belong is very important in executing the game plan.

Athletes and coaches began rolling into town today. Nicol did a 35-minute run on campus this evening and mingled with athletes from all over the country, who were also getting comfortable with the most important surrounding this week -- the John McDonnell Field. At the track, she did her 200-meter strides and drills.

Got back to the hotel and ran into old friend Dave Dumble, throws coach Arizona State. It's great to see him!

Dinner -- Olive Garden!

June 7, 9:30 p.m. CDT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Although there are no guarantees, I have been as confident as a coach can be that Nicol would be headed to Fayetteville to compete this week, given the current qualifying procedures for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

My confidence comes entirely from Nicol herself. Her commitment to prepare, work hard, compete and what I feel is most important at this level -- believe in herself -- has earned her a spot on the starting line of the 5,000 meter run on Wednesday night. Nicol understands that this commitment is required not only on days she feels good, or for a season or for even a year. She knows it's a decision she makes everyday to be the best and achieve at the highest level possible.

Great athletes learn from all their experiences. Nicol's confidence has grown with each race during the last year. As she developed and matured physically through training, she mentally developed her ability to race against the best athletes and win!

Travel was fairly uneventful. This is good! A 50-seat plane from Richmond, Va., to Cincinnati and from Cincinnati to Northwest Arkansas airports. I would really prefer a larger plane. Checked into the hotel and found a local park for Nicol to do her shake out run today: 15-minute warm-up, then four times 2 minutes hard, with 1.5-2 minutes recovery between, and finally a 10-minute warm-down. A little stiff from traveling.

Weather was humid and around 80 when we landed, but the front moved through without getting hit by the storm. Humidity dropped, and the air seems much lighter and drier.

Tomorrow: A short run in the morning at the hotel, maybe a movie during the day, and then we'll head onto the University of Arkansas campus in the afternoon to work out at the track. Good decision to travel today. This gives Nicol the right amount of time to settle in, loosen up, and relax before preparing to race Wednesday and making finals on Friday!

I know some of you out there can't believe I started texting. Look at me now: I'm blogging!

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